Watch a tiny camera show the world from a bugs point of view

 sciencemag.org  07/27/2020 13:00:00   Meagan Cantwell

By Meagan Cantwell

To save energy, many insects swivel their headinstead of their entire bodyto scan the world around them. Researchers have now replicated this with a tiny camera with a one-of-a-kind arm they can maneuver from a smartphone. The total system weighs just 248 milligramsless than a dollar bill.

When strapped onto a beetles back, the camera can stream video in close to real time. It can also pivot to provide a panoramic view from the beetles perspective (as seen in this video). Whats more, when the camera was mounted onto an insect-size robot, the bot used up to 84 times less energy by moving the arm of the camera instead of its entire body.

The technology is one of the smallest, self-powering vision systems to date, researchers report this month in Science Robotics. In the future, scientists could use these tiny cams to gain insight into the habits of insects outside the lab.

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